Long QT Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature and Current Evidence

Curr Probl Cardiol. 2019 Mar;44(3):92-106. doi: 10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2018.04.002. Epub 2018 May 10.


Long QT syndrome (LQT) represents a heterogeneous family of cardiac electrophysiologic disorders characterized by QT prolongation and T-wave abnormalities on the electrocardiogram. It is commonly associated with syncope, however, sudden cardiac death can occur due to torsades de pointes. LQT is a clinical diagnosis and should be suspected in individuals on the basis of clinical presentation, family history and ECG characteristics. Management is focused on the prevention of syncope and ultimately sudden death. Complete cessation of symptoms is the goal. Life-style modification, beta blockers and ICD implantation are the most important therapeutic modalities in proper management of patients with LQT. Awareness should be raised regarding possible circumstances that could increase the risk of QT prolongation. Advanced age, hypokalemia, a history of heart failure, and structural heart disease are often mentioned in this context. Prudent consideration is needed before making a decision to recommend an ICD implantation in a young, active patient. Medical and/or device therapy still represent important therapeutic modalities in the management of patients with LQT with careful clinical judgement for the substrate of patients who will benefit. Insights from benchside to bedside have facilitated progress toward better therapeutic strategies, there also remains a need for tailoring management toward individuals in a mechanism-specific manner to optimize care. In addition, continued progress toward fundamental understanding of mechanisms of ion channel function and drug-channel interaction will guide the development of more effective, mechanism-based molecular agents in the treatment of LQT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Disease Management*
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac / methods*
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome* / classification
  • Long QT Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Long QT Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Long QT Syndrome* / therapy